Category Archives: History of science

Call for papers – The Fukushima Effect: Nuclear histories, representations and debates

At the APSTSN conference in Singapore this July, I had the pleasure of meeting Richard Hindmarsh, associate professor at Griffith University, Australia, and editor of Nuclear Disaster at Fukushima Daiichi: Social, Political and Environmental Issues. We were each presenting papers … Continue reading

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New Zealand scientists and the atomic bomb

How proud New Zealand must be that the foundations of the amazing discovery concerning latent atomic energy were laid by her own great scientist Rutherford. – Viscount Bledisloe in telegram to New Zealand, 9 August 1945[1] After atomic bombs were … Continue reading

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Galileo in Florence

This story first appeared in The Listener, issue 3688, 15 January 2011.  I’d come a long way to see Galileo’s arthritic middle finger, but recognised the great 17th-century astronomer’s aged appendage – displayed in a gilt-edged glass egg in a … Continue reading

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Kermadecs voyage #1: On the HMNZS Canterbury

In 1955, when the US and USSR were involved in a nuclear arms race, the British Prime Minister asked New Zealand’s permission to test hydrogen bombs in the Kermadecs, a small group of islands about 800 km north of Auckland. … Continue reading

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Charles Fleming and his singing cicadas

This story originally appeared on my Pundit blog here. I’ve never quite understood why, but it’s the most-viewed thing I’ve ever written.  Cicadas are as much a mainstay of a New Zealand summer as the sound of surf and a game of … Continue reading

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